PM backs Warton as 'epicentre' of combat air industry

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has backed Warton as the ‘epicentre of development’ of the next UK-led combat air programme.

Mr Johnson backed the BAE Systems facility and its supply chain after a question from Mark Menzies MP in Parliament.

During the Prime Minister’s Question Time debate, Mr Menzies was first up and asked: “Last week saw the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Britain. As you are aware, Mr Speaker, BAE Systems alone employs more than 10,000 people across Lancashire, supporting the great work of our RAF, and it is taking on more than 250 apprentices in that part of the business this year.

“Will the Prime Minister come to visit Warton, meet these apprentices and commit to doing all he can to secure these key jobs through support for defence exports and the Team Tempest programme?”

Mr Johnson replied: “I have no doubt that I will be coming to Warton in due course. Let me tell my hon. Friend that 1,800 highly skilled engineers and programmers are already involved in the project, going up to 2,500 next year, and that 800 of those are in his constituency.

“I look forward to his constituency being at the epicentre of the development of the next UK-led combat air programme.”

After the PMQs session, Mr Menzies said: “I’m delighted to hear the Prime Minister will be coming to Warton in future. I am glad to see BAE Systems is continuing to take on apprentices and maintain a highly-skilled workforce that is the best in the world at what it does.

“A strong BAE Systems means a strong supply chain and that means more highly-skilled jobs across the region.”